Principal of the Clare Hall Secondary School Ashworth Azille reports that – since the unfortunate incident in which the school’s fence was breached by armed young men – the education institution has been receiving assistance, and cameras have been set up around the compound to monitor the property.
Azille says violence on the school compound manifests itself in different ways and has a different impact on various stakeholders.
He says the January 31 incident, which later saw classes being cancelled for two days, still affects students and educators.
Azille says the children suffered trauma and the adults – the teachers and ancillary staff – have all been very uncomfortable for the past several weeks. The school compound is a space where they should feel at home and empowered to educate the young people, he points out.
Meanwhile, the principal says that several agencies have come on board to assist the school and ensure that a similar incident does not take place, since the perimeter fence poses an immediate safety challenge.
Azille says there are several things now happening at the school, including the installation of surveillance cameras. Hence, he, along with the teachers, is able to observe the activities taking place on the compound via an app on their smartphones, since they are able to access all the cameras.
However, the security system is not manned by a dedicated person who would be positioned in a control room 24 hours a day.
What Azille explains is that this is an initial stem in what is expected to be a more comprehensive approach to addressing the issue of surveillance and security, generally, on the school plants.
So far, he says, the cameras have been working well within the limitation of reliable Internet service and seem to be very efficient at this evaluation phase.
He notes that the authorities have been asked to seriously address the Internet issues, which he hopes will be looked into in the shortest possible time.
While the education institution is doing all these things to ensure that students and teachers are protected, the principal says the onus is still on the rest of the society, since violence does not begin in schools.
And while there has been talk by the authorities about addressing the many issues affecting schools, including youth violence, Azille says the time has come for all this lip service to end and for mechanisms to actually be put in place to address them.